Los Tigres del Norte

Los Tigres del Norte

Political anthems and love songs


Notreno music, also known as conjuno, is one of the most popular kinds of homegrown Mexican music. Accordion and choppy upstroke guitars give norteno its polka-like sound; indeed, the origins of the music are from German and other European immigrants who came to Mexico in the late 19th century.

Los Tigres del Norte have been around since the late sixties. They scored their first big hit with "Contrabando y Traición" ("Contraband and Betrayal") in 1974, a story of drug running and adventure.

Rather than try to summarize their long history, I will introduce a few of their most famous songs. These were all recorded during their 2011 Unplugged concert, for which they brought out a lot of guests, mostly Latin stars like Juanes from Colombia. In this song their guest is well known to American audiences:


If Zach de la Rocha guests on a song, then you can guess that it is political. “Somos mas Americanos” means “We are More American” and has some great lines like, “We didn’t cross the border, the border crossed us.” If you like it then I suggest looking up and translating the lyrics online.

“Golpes en el Corazon” was the big hit from the Unplugged Album. The title translates as “Punches to the Heart” and has unrequited love song lyrics and a catchy melody:


The grand finale of the Unplugged show, “America” is once again about the continent, not the country, but it is less political and more celebratory than the unapologetic in-your-face politics of “Somos mas Americanos.” This version features the front man from Calle 13 who contributes a new verse to the song: